Shelves of books have been written about planning your life. They ask the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?’ They suggest writing down your long-term, short-term, and medium-range goals. They stress the importance of aligning your goals with your values. Your goals can be sorted into categories such as career or professional, family, spiritual, health, fitness and lifestyle. Once the goals are defined, an action plan is formed. The action plan has specific tasks with dates for completion. We’ve all heard these ideas before and some actively apply these principals while the rest pay lip-service to them as a noble endeavor.
In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest was not much of a planner. Forrest relied mostly on dumb luck. And through the magic of Hollywood he succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. From football star to Army hero to Shrimpin’ magnate to loving husband and father, Forrest had good fortune or dumb luck on his side at every turn. Are you an active life planner or are you hoping for some Gump-like dumb luck?
Marian Erickson says, “Most of life is choices, the rest is pure dumb luck.” Oprah Winfrey says, “Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.” Tennessee Williams said, “Luck is believing you’re lucky.” while a Turkish proverb goes, “A person does not seek luck; luck seeks the person.” Finally an unattributed quote proclaims, “Luck has a peculiar habit of favoring those who don’t depend on it.”
As I mentioned earlier, Forrest Gump seemed to have luck on his side at every important moment. When he was recovering from his bullet wound in the buttocks, he gets hit in head with ping-pong ball – Dumb Luck! Next thing he starts playing ping-pong and quickly becomes a world champion. Or how about when Forrest is being chased by the boys from his class and he runs past the football field where Bear Bryant is recruiting talent – Dumb Luck! Next thing he’s the star running back at the University of Alabama. Finally, Forrest and Lt. Dan had zero success in the shrimpin’ business until Hurricane Carmen hit the gulf coast and all the other shrimp boats docked in port were wrecked; Forrest was out at sea during the hurricane and survived – Dumb Luck!
While the events in Forrest’s life were just dumb luck, he was prepared to take advantage of the situation. He started playing ping-pong after getting hit in the head by the ball, but it was lots of practice and hard work that made him a champion. And it was lucky that Coach Bryant saw Forrest run that day, but Forrest had been running for years. And the all the hard work and previous failures in the shrimpin? business paved the way for the success after the hurricane.
So luck opens a door but it’s a personal choice that takes a person through that door.
Are you doing the hard work and preparation necessary so that when the door of opportunity opens you’re ready to walk through? Or are you simply relying on dumb luck?
Next Blog Title: What to Do when the Feather Lands at Your Foot?
Next Blog Date: Thursday, January 28, 2010